Notice – Questions and answers: Changes that affect Federal Skilled Worker applications
Q1. Why do you propose removing the FSW backlog?
Canada needs to select immigrants who are ready, willing and able to fully integrate into Canada's labour market and fill gaps in our economy, particularly where we have existing skills shortages.
The large backlog of applications that has accumulated under the Federal Skilled Worker Program is impeding the responsiveness of Canada's immigration system.
Canada risks losing the global talent competition for the world's best and brightest as potential immigrants choose to take their skills to other countries with more responsive immigration systems rather than remain in the queue to have their application processed in Canada.
Economic Action Plan 2012 therefore proposes to return applications and refund fees paid by certain federal skilled worker applicants who applied under previous criteria established prior to February 27, 2008.
Removing the backlog of FSW applications will allow CIC to focus on bringing in skilled immigrants who apply under the current eligibility criteria and are more suited for shortages in Canada's economy today.
Q2. Would I be affected if CIC removes the FSW backlog?
Under the proposed changes, CIC would close Federal Skilled Worker applicants' files if they:
applied before February 27, 2008, and
have not had a decision made by an immigration officer based on selection criteria by March 29, 2012. (information on selection criteria is below)
We expect this would affect around 280,000 people including dependents.
If the proposed law is passed, CIC would begin to return the full amount of fees paid by affected FSW applicants.
Q3. Is there any reason I would not get my refund?
The proposed changes are intended to be retroactive to March 29, 2012. If an immigration officer had refused your application based on selection criteria before that date, you will not get a refund.
Q4. What does a "decision based on selection criteria" mean?
A "decision based on selection criteria" means that an immigration officer:
has assessed your FSW application against the points grid, and
has made a decision on whether or not you meet the selection criteria of the program.
Currently, the pass mark is 67 points out of a grid worth 100 points. The grid considers the person's:
ability in English and/or French
whether they have a job already arranged in Canada (arranged employment), and
how well they might adapt to living in Canada (which awards points for things like previous work or study in Canada, spouse's education and relatives in Canada).
If your application is successful, you would move to the next phase (i.e. admissibility). At that point you would be checked against health, security and criminality requirements before being allowed to enter Canada.
If you do not score at least 67 on the FSW points grid, your application would be refused and CIC would inform you of the decision.
Q5. How would I get my refund?
More details on the proposed change will be announced soon. Once the proposal is approved through Parliament, CIC will begin to return the fees.
Details will be available on the CIC website.
Q6. What options would I have if my application is removed from the backlog?
If your file is closed by CIC, you may re-apply under the current FSW criteria. If you have the skills Canada needs now, your application would likely be processed much faster – new FSW applications are processed within 6-12 months.